John Boy gets his book of short stories published. Everyone happy - until the bill comes. Turns out it is a vanity press that just prints books but you pay for it.



(created by) (as Earl Hamner),

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Episode credited cast:
Olivia Walton (as Miss Michael Learned)
Erin Walton (as Mary Elizabeth McDonough)
The Narrator (voice) (as Earl Hamner)
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Kathy Cronkite ...
Paul Jenkins ...


John Boy gets his book of short stories published. Everyone happy - until the bill comes. Turns out it is a vanity press that just prints books but you pay for it.

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Drama | Family | Romance




Release Date:

14 November 1974 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Narrator: [narration as John 'John Boy' Walton, Jr. reading from his journal] In those grey and grinding days of the Depression we often found comfort in the old familiar proverbs. We knew that in unity there was strength, that blood was thicker than water, that to err was human, and to forgive, divine. Usually we never examined these truths too closely, but in the autumn of 1934 I discovered, through pain and remorse, just how profoundly true they were.
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Sweet Betsy From Pike
Attributed to John A. Stone, c.1858
Performed by Jon Walmsley
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User Reviews

John-Boy & Jason get a start on the chosen careers
13 March 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

This was one of the more exciting episodes--if you feel empathy for the characters, like you would for a friend, that is. The two oldest Walton children have exciting news concerning their first big chances at their chosen careers of writing and being a musician.

John-Boy's comes shortly after he begins to doubt that he really is any good as a writer, joining a special writing class at Boatwright, with upper class students whose writing seems to be more advanced and more serious than his short stories about his family.

Olivia answers an ad from a local publisher seeking young authors, submitting some of his stories.

The very day the publisher's letter arrives, saying they would like to publish John-Boy's work happens to be the day Jason arrives home all excited because of a chance encounter at Ike's, he has a chance to audition to play with a locally-famous band that performs around the state. Modest Jason, tries to tell people his good news, but everyone is so excited about John-Boy's big news that they literally don't hear him. He decides to just go ahead on his own and shows no anger toward the family, understanding they are not purposely ignoring him.

When the contract arrives, John tries to look at it, but John-Boy pulls it away, saying he'd like his mother to co-sign it because she is the one who submitted his work. She and he both sign and the only one who was actually going to read it, John, just lets it go.

If nothing else, this "success" for John-Boy not only gives him confidence in his class, but the news of it makes him somewhat a celebrity within that class.

Spoiler alert here is only necessary if you haven't read the IMDb plot summary: Some time later a box arrives and again everyone is excited to see a few dozen copies of John-Boy first published work. It is a real hardcover, professionally published book, but what they overlooked is that it came from a "vanity" press. That means they have to pay $50 for those 50 books. The publisher is simply charging people to publish the books. There is no distribution to book stores, no advertising. They do nothing but put the stories onto paper and charge the author for this privilege.

In real life, these publishers still operate today and many people have shed tears because they are fooled into thinking they have a talent for writing based on these publishers, and they wind up owing money to boot.

Meanwhile Jason is really getting a start, impressing Bobby Bigelow and getting a chance to earn money playing with his band whenever they are in the area for $3.50 per night.

The way the family worked together on making a row boat safe for use was a minor plot that was nice to see.

I was caught up in the thought of how exciting for each young man to get a chance to get started on their dream profession. Even though it didn't work out for both, it was an excellent episode to see how excited they were at the prospect of success. We had good things happen to at least one person, a lesson learned about reading contracts and about believing in yourself, and saw the family share each other's joy. Sounds like everything fans of this series like to me. I rate it a 10.

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